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Insight and Wisdom

[gratitude] Some words from Christopher Titmuss I heard

I thought I'd share this, a sort of offering back to one of the sources of the causes for me going on a retreat recently... 

Prompted by sort-of-reading-mostly-skimming Daniel's book I recently travelled to the Christopher Titmuss retreat in India at Sarnath. A few days in during one of the group interviews, we were asked to volunteer how our practice was going, I volunteered by talking about some frustrations with getting back to a certain level of concentration I felt I had achieved on some Goenka retreats earlier. In the discussion he said to me

"There is no experience in the world worth repeating. Every experience is worth having insight into."

This blew my mind emoticon He may have said it elsewhere too, but at that time I took it deeply personally. And I couldn't get my head around it at all, it was that sort of confusion that you know if you can understand something about it, you could learn something. I thought I stood some risk also of prematurely settling for some understanding that is superficial and not the deep understanding that can produce a sentence like it (and still do).

Which I interpreted the sentence at first as seeing the three characteristics. Weeks on and a bit of retreat time later, seeing things changing, stressful nature of things pass, by themselves, just a little bit (not all the way & for everything), I noticed that it is such a joy & it's possible to be grateful for anything in ones experience, even pain. (Can't say all the way, I've not experienced bone cancer, just little pains). It's that we turn *away* and try to push away or ignore suffering that causes this conglomoration of self-definition to arise, as that's the point we begin to construct an interior and exterior. Turning towards what is arising with our attention and acknowledging it, perhaps with a gentle note, everything is such a gift. From mindfulness arises gratitude. Mindfulness acknowledging things as they are, gives things as they arise and pass to their place, their beauty and dignity and the activity of deliberately conducting mindfulness gives appreciation of the preciousness of all that arises, it's such a gift. So much suffering is caused simply by wanting to avoid suffering. Including suffering in practice or because of it. But there's this precious gift, we can acknowledge it (the suffering/stress/unsatisfying nature of the experience) No matter the time. "Nothing in experience is worth repeating, every experience is worth having insight into". We can let it come and let it go and be as it is. It's like all the 4 noble truths are the same - the knowing of there being suffering is its release, it gives it its dignity, it's place, allows it to arise and pass, to go to where it rests. 

This is such a gift. So beautiful.

That there is arising and ceasing of suffering going on all by itself is the liberation from it. This is just a little glimmer of hope, like, 'ah I now know how to work'emoticon Seeing the truth of that sentence involves relinquishing / letting go. (And there's a lot of work to do, so much goes on unacknowledge, hidden by habit and personal tendencies, and so on)

Anyway thought I would share that, because sometimes you hear words of the dhamma like "let go" and there might be some interpretation of it, and then hearing the dhamma again in completely different words can completely open your practice up. 

So to all of you... There is no experience in the world worth repeating. Every experience is worth having insight into. 

What experiences are you trying to repeat? emoticon

A discourse related (a short one!)  Full text at (using new 2018 Sujato translation of Pali Canon!)
"The world is for the most part shackled to attraction, grasping, and insisting. But if—when it comes to this attraction, grasping, mental fixation, insistence, and underlying tendency—you don’t get attracted, grasp, and commit to the notion ‘my self’, you’ll have no doubt or uncertainty that what arises is just suffering arising, and what ceases is just suffering ceasing. Your knowledge about this is independent of others."

RE: [gratitude] Some words from Christopher Titmuss I heard
4/11/19 5:51 PM as a reply to Daniel Jones.
sounds like a dhamma diagnosis worth something to you...


RE: [gratitude] Some words from Christopher Titmuss I heard
4/11/19 6:30 PM as a reply to Daniel Jones.
it seems to me that "having insight into" an "experience" is like repeating it...chewing the cud of experience...perhaps we could simply experience and then let it go, to be fresh for whatever is next...

I think experience, like maps, is is always in the past, old news..."my memory works too well, it is my forgettery that needs work" (I said that)...bob seger said, "I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then"...terry pritchard said, "build a man a fire and you keep him warm for a day; set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life"...

the teh of the tao: innocence, spontaneity, sincerity...


from gregory bateson, "mind and nature"

In the transmission of human culture , people always attempt to replicate, to pass on to the next generation the skills and values of the parents; but the attempt always and inevitably fails because cultural transmission is geared to learning, not to DNA. The process of transmission of culture is a sort of hybrid or mix-up of the two realms. It must attempt to use the phenomena of learning for the purpose of replication because what the parents have was learned by them. If their offspring miraculously had the DNA that would give them the parents' skills, those skills would be different and perhaps nonviable.

   It is interesting that between the two worlds is the cultural phenomenon of explanation - the mapping onto* [footnote follows] tautology of unfamiliar sequences of events.

   Finally, it will be noted that the realms of epigenesis evolution are, at a deeper level, typified in the twin paradigms of second law of thermodynamics: ( 1) that the random workings of probability will always eat up order, pattern, and negative entropy but that for the creation of new order, the workings of the random, the plethora of uncommitted alternatives (entropy) is necessary. It is out of the random that organisms collect new mutations, and it is there that stochastic learning gathers its solutions. Evolution leads to climax: ecological saturation of all the possibilities of differentiation. Learning leads to the overpacked mind. By return to the unlearned and mass-produced egg, the ongoing species again and again clears its memory banks ready for the new.

*I use the phrase, to map onto, for the following reasons: All description, explanation, or representation is necessarily in some sense a mapping of derivatives from the phenomena to be described onto some surface or matrix or system of coordinates. In the case of an actual map the received matrix is commonly a flat sheet of paper of finite extent, and difficulties occur when that which is to be mapped is roo big or, for example, spherical . Other difficulties would be generated if the receiving matrix were the surface of a torus (doughnut) or if it were a discontinuous lineal sequence of points. Every receiving matrix, even a language or a tautological network of propositions, will have its formal characteristics which will in principle be distortive of the phenomena to be mapped by it. The universe was, perhaps, designed by Procrustes, that sinister character of Greek mythology in whose inn every traveler had to fit the bed on pain of amputation or elongation of the legs.